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American Indian and Alaska Native Program


The Department of Commerce strives to create a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness that enables employees to participate to their fullest potential.  The American Indian (AI) and Alaskan Native (AN) Program helps the Department to achieve this goal by addressing potential discriminatory and/or inequitable practices in hiring and employment and eliminating barriers to full participation for AI/AN employees in the workplace.

The AI/AN Program aids the Department in attaining a diverse, qualified workforce to fulfill the goals outlined in Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce and Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government.

The Office of Civil Rights plays an integral role in this effort by encouraging effective communication and dialogue between the Department and internal and external AI/AN affinity groups. We work closely with the Secretary’s Senior Policy Advisor on Native American/American Indian Affairs and the Census Bureau’s Intergovernmental Affairs: Tribal Affairs Office, to develop partnership initiatives and improve engagement and retention of AI/AN employees.

The Department places a high priority on respecting the government-to-government relationship between the Federal government and the federally recognized AI/AN tribes and their unique sovereign status.

Program Manager: Laura Soria 

Native American Heritage Month (also known as National American Indian Heritage Month)

Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and the Director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, NY was one of the first proponents of an American Indian Day. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, President Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens. The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York.

Today, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November to recognize the achievements and contributions of Native Americans. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

Guidance and Regulations


Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce, August 18, 2011


Executive Order 13592, Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, December 2, 2011


Executive Order 11478, Equal employment opportunity in the Federal Government


29 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 1614.102(b)(4), Federal implementation of the Civil Rights Act


Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments


Executive Order 13562, Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates, December 27, 2010